Mar 02, 2020
It’s not uncommon to see flurries flying on particularly blustery days, and sometimes we even get snow accumulation during this time of year. This winter has seemed unseasonably mild for the most part, but the risk isn’t over just yet.
I remember the Blizzard of 1993 as a perfect example. That year most of the state was blanketed with record-breaking snowfall as a freak winter storm wreaked havoc on residents, causing power outages that
lasted for days and particularly impacting many farmers who struggled to get their cows milked and carry
on day-to-day farm chores. Many had chicken houses, hay barns, and other farm buildings collapse from
the weight of the heavy snow accumulation and strong winds. The dire circumstances led to significant losses in the agriculture sector and beyond. Some figures estimate the blizzard, dubbed the ”Storm of the
Century” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, caused more than $5.5 billion in damages, making it the costliest winter weather event to date according to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.
The blizzard began on March 12 and over two days dumped 16 inches of snow on East Tennessee. Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains registered a staggering 69 inches of snowfall. Weather records attribute the freak event to a cyclonic storm that formed over the Gulf of Mexico and cut a wide swath of destruction through the country traveling up through the Appalachians into the Northeast and on into Canada. More than 300 fatalities were attributed to the storm.
Fortunately, the long-range forecast for March 2020 looks mild. The experts’ opinions were reinforced by another example of folklore on Saturday, Feb. 2, when the famous prognosticator groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, signaled an early spring when he failed to see his shadow.
Whether this weather prediction is accurate or not remains to be seen. I’m keeping myfingers crossed.
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The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee (UT) Institute of Agriculture is launching the UT Center of Farm Management, with the dedicated purpose of enhancing the long-term profitability and sustainability of agricultural enterprises in the state and across the Southeast. Launching in July 2022, the center will integrate established Institute programs and responsively develop new ones to meet the needs of Tennessee producers.
Faculty and staff at the Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center are excited to host another in-person Tobacco, Beef and More Field Day on June 30, 2022. The event features a tradeshow as well as opportunities for tobacco farmers, beef producers, and home gardeners to pick up some helpful tips.